the “science of life,” or longevity, is the holistic
alternative science from India, and is more than
5,000 years old. It is the oldest healing science in existence, forming
the foundation of all others. Buddhism, Taoism, Tibetan, and other
cultural medicines have many similar parallels to Ayurveda.
The secret of Ayurveda’s individualized
healing method was preserved in India, whereas it has been
lost or superseded in other cultures.
means knowledge. The evolution of the Indian art of healing and living
a healthy life comes from the four Vedas namely :
and Atharva veda.
Ayurveda attained a state of reverence and is
classified as one of the Upa- Vedas
- a subsection - attached to the Atharva
Veda. The Atharva Veda contains not only the
magic spells and the occult sciences but also the Ayurveda
that deals with the diseases, injuries, fertility, sanity and health.
all forms of lifestyle in therapy. Thus yoga, aroma, meditation, gems,
amulets, herbs, diet, astrology, color and surgery etc. are used in a
comprehensive manner in treating patients. Treating important and
sensitive spots on the body called Marmas is described in Ayurveda.
knowledge we have now is by three surviving texts of Charaka, Sushruta
(1st century A.D.) wrote Charaka
meaning collection of verses written in Sanskrit). Sushruta (4th century
A.D.) wrote his Samhita i.e
(5th century A.D.) compiled the third set of major texts called Ashtanga Hridaya
and Ashtanga Sangraha.
of Physicians and Sushruta’s School of Surgeons
became the basis of Ayurveda and helped
organize and systematically classify into branches of medicine and
major supplements (Nighantus) were written in
the ensuing years – Dhanvantari, Bahavaprakasha, Raja
to name a few – that helped refine the practice of Ayurveda.
New drugs were added and ineffective ones were discarded. Expansion of
application, identification of new illnesses and finding substitute
treatments seemed to have been an evolving process. Close to 2000
plants that were used in healing diseases and abating symptoms were
identified in these supplements.
in the 4th century revised the Charaka Samhita. The texts of Sushruta
Samhita were revised and supplemented by Nagarjuna
in the 6th century.
branches/divisions of Ayurveda:
Kaya-chikitsa (Internal Medicine)
(surgery and treatment of head and neck, Ophthalmology and ear, nose,
Rasayana (science of rejuvenation or
Vajikarana (the science of fertility and
Ayurveda has two
equally important domains known as Svastavrtta and Aturavrtta
which instruct mankind on ways to remain healthy and ways to get out of
ill health. The Ayurvedic definition of
health implied equanimity and cheerfulness (prasannata), which spring from a
composite state of equilibrium (samya).
equilibrium was called for among the constituents of the body (dhatu, dohas and agni);
between the constituents and the causative agents (hetu/nidana) which always lurk
within; and between the body and the surroundings (ritu). The key to attaining this
state was to adopt a life style free from the overuse, underuse and mis-use of
the five sense organs, which draw an individual to imprudent conduct
code of virtuous conduct was therefore prescribed which spared no
aspect of an individual’s life – his attitude to nature, relatives and
friends; diet; work; physical and sexual activity; sleep; personal
hygiene; clothes and adornments, and even such chores as haircuts and
paring of nails! If a person observed the code, he could expect to live
his full span of life like a cart that, well maintained and used, would
break down from natural wear and tear only at the end of its predicted
life time: flouting the code would invite disorders and premature death
in the same manner as a cart, poorly maintained, overloaded and run on
bad roads, would break down prematurely. Well being is the natural
state of the body, and diseases are aberrations which generally tend to
is the first in the world to practice different types of operations and
sixty types of treatment of
wounds, classification and treatment of fractures and plastic
surgery. The earliest Sanskrit treatises on Ayurveda
were the 'Samhitas' of the great ancient
which date from around the Christian era. The Indian surgeons of that
era excelled in operations and their achievements in plastic surgery
had no parallels anywhere in the world. Susrutha
is called the father of plastic
of the pre-Christian era, such as the Epic 'Ramayana', mention remarkable feats of surgery having
taken place in the past. Thus we have reference to the transplantation of an eyeball.
The legendary 'Jivaka' a famous physician during the time of
Buddha is also reported to have performed remarkable cures involving
deep surgery. The Circulation of
Blood was first explained in Ayurvedic
system of medicine nearly 4000 years ago, although William Harvey got
the credit later on. Even in the 18th century, the Indian art of Rhinoplasty
(plastic surgery performed on the nose) was studied by European